What a George Mason Expert Is Saying about…the Supreme Court Ruling on the Arthur Andersen Case

Posted: June 2, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of occasional articles on what George Mason experts have to say about a current topic. These are personal opinions and do not reflect an endorsement by George Mason University.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for destroying Enron Corp.-related documents before the energy giant’s collapse.

In a unanimous opinion, justices said the former Big Five accounting firm’s June 2002 conviction was improper. The court said the jury instructions at trial were too vague and broad for jurors to determine correctly whether Andersen obstructed justice.

Nelson Lund
Nelson Lund

Nelson Lund, Patrick Henry Professor of Constitutional Law and the Second Amendment at George Mason’s School of Law, weighed in on the court’s decision.

“This case illustrates how dangerous overzealous prosecutors can be, especially when they attack politically unpopular targets,” said Lund. “The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the prosecutor’s distorted interpretation of a federal statute, but it was too late to save the defendant’s reputation and business from being destroyed.”

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